Feb. 4, 2004

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Contact: Air Force: Tech. Sgt. V. Hammond, (785) 864-4676; Army: Capt. Brad J. Bohan, (785) 864-1109; Navy and Marines: Debbie Loy, (785) 864-1192.

Military units commissioned 14 KU fall 2003 graduates now serving country

LAWRENCE -- In separate ceremonies held at the University of Kansas at the close of the fall 2003 semester, 14 KU graduates and one Baker University graduate were commissioned as armed forces officers.

In joint commissioning ceremonies Dec. 19 at Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force each commissioned three second lieutenants. Guest speaker was Brig. Gen. Gina S. Farrisee, Washington, D.C., the 61st adjutant-general of the Army, who also administered the oath to the new officers. She is one of the first two female ROTC or West Point officers to achieve the rank of general.

Also in joint ceremonies Dec. 20 at Woodruff Auditorium, the U.S. Navy commissioned eight ensigns and the U.S. Marine Corps commissioned one second lieutenant. Guest speaker was Navy Reserve Cmdr. Adam Taff, Overland Park.

Cadets in KU's Army program included a student from Baker University in Baldwin. In the past, KU also has been host for ROTC students from Washburn University in Topeka, Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth and MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe.

KU's commissioned officers, their hometowns, majors, parents' names, high school alma mater, military affiliations, pinning or commissioning designees chosen by the student officers and officers' destinations after graduation are:

COWLEY COUNTY
From Arkansas City
Troy Gilmore, communications studies graduate, son of Joyce Jones, who pinned on his uniform bars; Arkansas City High School graduate; Air Force; space and missile officer training at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Eric Holbrooks, crime and delinquency studies, whose mother and her husband, Barbara and Rick Hilario, pinned on his uniform bars; Arkansas City High School graduate; Army; signal officer assigned to Fort Irwin, Calif.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Shawnee
Larry Morgan, business administration and communication studies, son of Larry Morgan; Nixa, Mo., High School graduate; Navy, commissioned by Capt. Richard D. High, KU Navy ROTC commanding officer; student naval aviator in flight training at Pensacola, Fla.

LEAVENWORTH COUNTY
From Leavenworth
Christopher Myer, history, son of retired Army Lt. Col. Don Myer; Immaculata High School graduate; Army; field artillery officer assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C. His bars were pinned on by his wife, Jennifer, and his father, an instructor at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

RAWLINS COUNTY
From Atwood
Jacob Vrbas, Germanic languages and literatures, son of Jerry and Kathy Vrbas; Atwood High School graduate; Navy; commissioned by Capt. Richard D. High, KU Navy ROTC commanding officer; student naval flight officer assigned to flight training at Pensacola, Fla.

SEDGWICK COUNTY
From Wichita
Patrick Godinez, organismal biology, son of Cesar and Karen Godinez, who pinned on his uniform bars; Kapaun Mount Carmel High School graduate; Air Force; air and space basic training at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., then navigator training at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.

SHAWNEE COUNTY
From Tecumseh
Nevon Burney, cellular biology, son of Bob Burney, Shawnee Heights High School graduate; Navy; commissioned by Capt. Richard D. High, KU Navy ROTC commanding officer; surface warfare officer assigned to USS Hawes, Norfolk, Va.

FLORIDA
From Jensen Beach
Brian Konie, psychology, son of Patricia Murray; St. Thomas Aquinas High School graduate, Overland Park; Marines; commissioned by his aunt, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Valerie Konie; Marines basic school, Quantico, Va.

ILLINOIS
From Lake Zurich
Matthew Berger, American history, son of Steven and Charlene Berger; Lake Zurich High School graduate; Navy; commissioned by Capt. Richard D. High, KU Navy ROTC commanding officer; student naval aviator assigned to flight training at Pensacola, Fla.

MISSOURI
From Florissant
Daniel Bond, business administration, son of Barbara Bond; Hazelwood Central Senior High School graduate; Navy; commissioned by Navy Lt. Mike Curley, Virginia Beach, Va.

From St. Louis
Keith Knoesel, U.S. Air Force second lieutenant, political science graduate, son of Harold and Sue Knoesel, who pinned on his uniform bars; St. Thomas Aquinas High School graduate, Florissant, Mo.; Air Force; air and space basic training at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Ala., then pilot training at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

PENNSYLVANIA
From Palmyra
Brian Gordon, political science and international studies, son of Hubert Gordon; Palmyra Area Junior-Senior High School graduate; Navy; commissioned by Navy Reserves Ensign Jennifer Booth, Norfolk, Va.; surface warfare officer assigned to USS Anzio, Norfolk, Va.

VIRGINIA
From Virginia Beach
Frank Orsino, microbiology, son of Frank and Rita Orsino, Princess Anne High School; Navy; commissioned by his sister, Air Force Reserves Lt. Deborah Willis, Langley Air Force Base, Va.; student naval flight officer assigned to flight training at Pensacola, Fla.

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